The IPI global network strongly condemns the killing of veteran radio broadcaster Percival Mabasa, also known as Percy Lapid, who was gunned down in Manila on October 3. We urge authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into this murder and to hold the perpetrators accountable. IPI also calls on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to take concrete action to put an end to violence against journalists.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said that Lapid was sitting in his vehicle when he was shot by unknown perpetrators on motorcycles, according to Rappler. The PNP also stated that a special investigation into this killing has been launched.
According to a statement released to IPI by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), his killing shows “how authorities have failed to protect journalists as well as ordinary citizens from harm” and that “journalism remains a dangerous profession in the country.”
Lapid had been critical of former president Duterte’s administration and had also criticized some policies of the new Marcos Jr. administration. According to the NUJP, in his latest video on his YouTube channel, Lapid discussed the dangers of red-tagging — the decades-old practice of labeling independent journalists and civil society as communist supporters.
Journalists in the Philippines operate in an extremely dangerous environment with a long history of violence toward the press. According to Rappler, Lapid is the 197th journalist to be killed in the Philippines since 1986.
This is the second fatal attack of a journalist in the Philippines since Marcos Jr. took office this July. On September 18, radio broadcaster Renato Blanco was stabbed to death in Mabinay, Negros Oriental. A suspect was detained and the motive has not been determined although investigators said it might be political in nature, according to The Manila Times.
“We are alarmed by the brutal killing of veteran radio journalist Percy Lapid, who is the second journalist who has been killed in the Philippines within the span of a month”, Amy Brouillette, IPI Director of Advocacy, said. “Authorities must conduct a swift and thorough investigation and ensure that the perpetrators of this crime face justice. But this is also a clear indication that the new Marcos administration needs to take swift action to address the escalation of violence toward the country’s journalists.”